Gmail allows phone calls from computers
New York: Google Inc on Wednesday said its Gmail service will add a feature that allows users to call any phone directly from their computers.
"Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail," Robin Schriebman, a software engineer at Google, wrote on the company's blog.
"We've been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant, to placing a call when you're in an area with bad reception," Schriebman wrote.
Google will roll out the new feature to US-based Gmail users over the next few days and is working on making it available globally, a news agency reported.
Users can call any phone in the US and Canada for free for at least the rest of the year, while Google also promised cheap international calls.
Calls to Britain, France, Germany, China, Japan and many other countries will be billed as low as two cents per minute, Google said.
Gmail already has a voice and video chat that allows users to talk to each other.